By Muttaz Ali and Seraj Essul.
Tripoli, 28 April 2014:
The Libyan Embassy in Iraq has announced that announced that the . . .[restrict]execution Adel Juma Shaalali has again been postponed.
According to the embassy, the stay of execution was ordered by the Iraqi government on 22 April and was partly the result of its efforts and those of his lawyer.
Shaalali, convicted on terrorism and murder charges, was originally due to have been hanged on 9 December 2012 but the Iraqi government stopped the execution the day beforehand following protests in Libya and an appeal from the Libyan government.
Since then another Libyan convicted of terrorism, Adel Al-Zuwai, has been hanged, on 7 November last year. He was the third Libyan convicted of terrorism and murder to be executed in Iraq and one of five Libyans sentenced to death in Iraq.
According to Sulaiman Fortia, the former head of the Libyan Political Prisoners Abroad and NTC member, there is no information as to why the Iraqis decided to halt the execution. “There is no communication between the Iraqi and Libyan governments,” he told the Libya Herald. He pointed out, moreover, that this was a stay of execution, not an overturning of the death sentence.
“We don’t fully trust the Iraqi government,” he said, making comparisons with the execution of Adel Al-Zuwai. “Right until the last moment the Iraqis were saying they were not going to execute him, but they did.”
He hoped the scenario would not be repeated but feared it would.
Shaalali, 39, left Libya during the Qaddafi period, he said, and was caught in Iraq after fall of Saddam Hussein, and accused of fighting against the US forces there and of being a terrorist.
It is not known if the murder last month of an Iraqi in Sirte and the kidnapping and alleged murder of an Iraqi professor in Derna last November are linked to the case of Shaalali and other Libyans held by the Iraqis. However, the recent kidnappings of the Jordanian ambassador and two members of staff at the Tunisian embassy in Tripoli are believed to be linked to attempts to free Libyan Islamists held in both countries. [/restrict]